As Abortion Numbers Drop in South Dakota, Hundreds of Women Go Out-of-State

Pro-life advocates say the numbers show that abortion rates are sensitive to state laws and South Dakota is moving in the right direction, but there's more to be done.

By Lisa Kaczke

South Dakota's abortion numbers have decreased by 55% over the past decade to reach a historic low last year, but that doesn't account for the hundreds of South Dakotans finding providers out of state.

Whilenearly 300 South Dakota women received abortions in the state last year, at least another almost 200 South Dakotans had abortions in Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Montana — Iowa and Wyoming don't have tallies for abortions performed on out-of-state residents, according to data from state health departments.

Pro-life advocates say the numbers show that abortion rates are sensitive to state laws and South Dakota is moving in the right direction, but there's more to be done.

"While South Dakota moves to eliminate all elective abortions from the state through education and legislation, it's clear pro-lifers in less conservative states have plenty of work to do in building a culture of life where they live," said Dale Bartscher, executive director of South Dakota Right for Life.

But others say the numbers aren't so black-and-white.

The number of South Dakotans receiving out-of-state abortions has fluctuated from year to year, and the ups and downs can't be directly tied to legislation adding abortion restrictions passed by South Dakota lawmakers, according to the Argus Leader analysis. 

Since 2008, the annual number of South Dakota women who have received out-of-state abortions has ranged from 104 to 190, and some may be situations where the woman traveled to another state because it has fewer abortion restrictions.

"Lawmakers in South Dakota have made it incredibly difficult to access abortion, but it's hard to attribute these numbers to a particular thing because they fluctuate," Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Jennifer Aulwes said.

Special Projects
Sponsored Stories
Sponsored
Creating meaningful citizen experiences in a post-COVID world requires embracing digital initiatives like secure and ethical data sharing, artificial intelligence and more.
Sponsored
GHD identified four themes critical for municipalities to address to reach net-zero by 2050. Will you be ready?
Sponsored
As more state and local jurisdictions have placed a priority on creating sustainable and resilient communities, many have set strong targets to reduce the energy use and greenhouse gases (GHGs) associated with commercial and residential buildings.
Sponsored
As more people get vaccinated and states begin to roll back some of the restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic — schools, agencies and workplaces are working on a plan on how to safely return to normal.
Sponsored
The solutions will be a permanent part of government even after the pandemic is over.
Sponsored
See simple ways agencies can improve the citizen engagement experience and make online work environments safer without busting the budget.
Sponsored
Whether your agency is already a well-oiled DevOps machine, or whether you’re just in the beginning stages of adopting a new software development methodology, one thing is certain: The security of your product is a top-of-mind concern.
Sponsored
The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2022, over half of the workforce will require significant reskilling or upskilling to do their jobs—and this data was published prior to the pandemic.
Sponsored
Part math problem and part unrealized social impact, recycling is at a tipping point. While there are critical system improvements to be made, in the end, success depends on millions of small decisions and actions by people.